square one

A dear friend of mine’s baby boy, Caleb, is just starting to walk and the last weeks have been seasoned with amazing sessions where we have watched him develop his mad skills. For a guy that’s relatively new to life and walking I have to say that he is already expertly in step with the Japanese Proverb: He falls seven times and stands up eight. Watching him is a constant reminder that life is filled with wonder and that there is wisdom just waiting to be unlocked in every person we encounter. Nelson Mandela echoed what this little bundle of fire, energy and determination has been reminding me of, “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

The thing about falling – especially when you do from seemingly great heights – is that you find yourself back at square one with a bruised self. Getting back up when I’m here never ceases to demand every inch of courage I may or may not have. With the disaster of a fall fresh in my mind and heart, I completely relate to William Throsby Bridges’ words, “Much as we may wish to make a new beginning, some part of us resists doing so as though we were making the first step toward disaster.”  What I need more than anything in these moments is faith so that I may take the first step even when I don’t see the whole staircase (to borrow Martin Luther King, Jr’s words); and a constant reminder that, as Winston Churchill said, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

Failure is not an optional extra in life. We are imperfect and thus we will inevitably experience some degree of it during our time here on earth. The challenge lies in standing back up and making a new start – in realizing that T. S. Eliot was on to something when he said, “What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning.  The end is where we start from.”

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